How to follow-up on a sales quote
Most sales teams don’t know how to follow up on sales quotes. If you’re a sales rep, that’s not meant to be insulting.
But there’s good news too. Improving your follow-up processes is fast, easy, and represents one of the best opportunities for boosting your close rate.
By putting some thought into how you craft follow-up emails, when and how often you send them, and how you measure results, you’ll likely see an increase in most (if not all) of your key sales metrics.
That’s why in this article we’re going to look at what’s involved in sending attention-grabbing, persuasive follow-up emails.
Questions to ask before following up on a sales quote
Before you start writing a follow-up email, it’s important to ask some key questions. The clearer the information you have about your prospective client and their circumstances, the more likely it is that you’ll strike a positive chord with them.
Ask the following questions about your clients prior to writing an email:
How close are they to buying?
It’s important to recognize where a potential client sits in your sales process. The way you respond to somebody that has already agreed to buy a service and has been sent a quote as a mere formality will be different to the way you follow up on a quote that was included as part of an early-stage proposal.
Are they evaluating competitors?
If your quote was sent in response to an open solicitation, such as an RFQ (request for quotation), then it’s more than likely that a prospective buyer is evaluating competitors. You may want to be more persuasive if this is the case.
Is email the best follow-up strategy?
Depending on how much you’ve interacted with a client, you may know their preferred communication channel. Following-up via email will almost always be a viable strategy, but you may want to check in with a phone call or even physical mail outreach.
Are you speaking to the decision-maker?
A follow-up email is rendered useless if the recipient isn’t responsible for buying or making the final decision. Ensure that you’re contacting the right person. For example, perhaps a quote was sent to an intermediary who needs to pass it onto someone higher up in the organization. If this is the case, you might want to find the email address of the decision-maker and CC them.
Tips for writing successful follow-up emails
Writing successful follow-up emails is more of a science than an art. By following a few simple rules, you will dramatically boost your open and conversion rates. Keep the following tips in mind when writing your follow-up emails.
Pay attention to the subject line
Data shows that some subject lines generate significantly more clicks than others and 35% of recipients (according to HubSpot) open an email based on the subject line alone. In a nutshell: keep it short, straightforward, and add personalization.
Referencing any past interactions and highlighting the problem you’re seeking to remedy again can help build engagement and prompt them to reply. Contextualizing the email a little in this way is far better than sending something generic and will ensure the recipient doesn’t think it’s a cold email.
Avoid automated follow-up
It goes without saying that you should always reference your recipient’s first name and their company name. But there’s also a strong argument for avoiding follow-up automation tools that work on trigger events entirely. Unless you’re dealing with an unmanageably large volume of emails, it rarely makes sense to forgo the personalization that is only possible with personally-crafted emails.
Keep the email copy short
Your recipients don’t have much time. So keep it short! Data shows that longer emails aren’t read as much as shorter ones.
Include a phone number
Include a personal phone number, including times that you’ll be available, so that prospective clients can call you if they wish.
Make things as easy as possible
There’s always a possibility that a client has not received the quote or has lost it. Offer to send another copy (or include one as an attachment) if this is the case.
When to send follow-up emails
So when’s the best time to send follow-up emails?
The data is far from conclusive on this topic. To adequately answer this question in a way that’s applicable to your market, you should run your own tests. Evaluating results is a relatively straightforward matter, and most email tools have analytics dashboards with metrics data like open rate, click rate, bounce rate, etc.
Here are some general tips for priming your emails for optimum success:
1. Weekday afternoons (between 10 AM and 2 PM) are usually best
Send your emails in the early afternoon on a weekday for the best chance of a reply.
2. More emails are better than fewer
The dictum “more is less” certainly doesn’t apply in this scenario. Research shows that while response rates diminish as time progresses, there is still a chance of receiving a reply on the sixth, seventh, eighth email.
3. Work within a five-day window
Data shows that most responses are sent within a 5-day window. Dedicate the bulk of your sales follow-up efforts to this period.
Tools, like PandaDoc, are incredibly useful when it comes to following up on sales quotes for one very simple reason: they allow you to track the quote-related activity of recipients. Analytics tools – which track metrics like quote views and time spent reading a quote – provide information that is relevant to the way you structure your follow-up. They make taking the next step much clearer.
If you haven’t already, consider using a smart sales app to incorporate this data into your follow-up strategy. You can give PandaDoc a 14-day test run by signing up here.